Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tiny Cars, No Airbags

European auto safety - not going so well, actually.



tim eisele said...

Well, at least it's an improvement over a motorcycle. And if you're using it to drive slowly down one of those narrow, pedestrian-packed streets like you posted earlier, the collision speeds will be low enough that it shouldn't matter much.

One thing I've been thinking about, though, is: what if a small commuter car (normally driven with just one person in it) was explicitly designed to perform well in crashes, to the point where we re-think just how the car carries people in the first place? Maybe something like this:

1. Driver is at the center of the vehicle, instead of on the side and towards the front. This would give some room for crumple zones, and also to install air bags.

2. Seat is more like what is used in fighter aircraft - conforms to the body to provide support at high accelerations, with a 5-point harness restraint to keep the driver's body properly positioned. Ideally, there would be a range of interchangeable seats available for different-sized people.

3. Passenger seat (if there is one) is reversed, with the passenger facing backwards. This would move the passenger towards the center to provide a crumple zone in back; give the passenger a better position in high-energy front impacts; and save quite a lot of space overall.

I think that if a small commuter car was designed along those lines, it would be possible to make one where the driver and passenger would actually come out OK in collisions even with much larger vehicles. And I don't think it would even increase the costs that much. Basically, it would be moving away from a "shrunken car" approach,to a "safer enclosed motorcycle" approach.

Foxfier said...

*eyes get big* How cute!

Shayla said...

I totally match with anything you have written.